The Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, outlined the necessary steps to facilitate greater inter-Arab region trade, during a panel discussion at the 13th quadrennial session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII).

The event brought together leading economists and prominent members of the region’s business community to consider what lessons had been learned from the Arab Spring.

The Director General acknowledged the “timeliness” and “critical nature” of the discussion. He said: “The Arab Spring reminds us of one fundamental economic viable – unemployment remains a major social, economic and political challenge.”

Pascal Lamy, Director General, WTO, (center), during a panel discussion at UNCTAD XIII.

Noting that Arab states have “lagged behind” the rest of the world in employment levels for the last two decades, he said the lack of capacity to export locally produced goods and materials is an imperative concern that needs to be addressed.

In his conclusion, Pascal Lamy called for private sector driven processes to shape trade policies, the reduction of bureaucracy as an obstacle to free-trade, and the efficient administration of trade through national development policies. He said: “If this has worked elsewhere in the world, my conclusion is that it will work here too.”

Also speaking at the event was Hassan Khalifa Al Mansouri, Executive Director of Qatar Export Development Agency, who stressed on the need to “further the reach of Qatari exports.”

 

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